Media cross-ownership takes a hit - public interest wins this round07/08/11 Lisa Marzilli, Beth Bell
Last Call Friday | Listen to this entire show:
On todayâ€™s Last Call we discussed the issue of media consolidation and specifically how itâ€™s affecting local news outlets across the country.
Yesterday, a federal appeals court upheld media ownership rules dating back to the 1970â€™s that prevent a single owner from controlling a newspaper and broadcast station in the same city; a situation similar to what the Tampa Tribune has here locally with News Channel 8. In Prometheus Radio Project v. FCC the court ruled that the Federal Communications Commission did not give the public enough notice to weigh in on its 2007 decision to relax cross-ownership rules under former chairman Kevin Martin and they sent the rules back to the FCC to be rewritten. The ruling marks the second time the appeals court has intervened in the commissionâ€™s attempts to relax media ownership rules.
FCC Commissioner Michael Copps, the commissionâ€™s most vocal critic on media consolidation, hailed the decision as a â€œhuge victory for the millions of Americans who have gone on record demanding a richer and more diverse mediaâ€. Commissioner Mignon Clyburn also weighed in saying she hoped this Court decision â€œwill serve to encourage all of us at the Commission to take a laser like focus on the necessary and long awaited need for robust ownership studies and thoughtful recommendations to advance diverse voices in America's media market place."
Our guest for the half hour was Josh Stearns, Associate Program Director at the media reform group Free Press. He oversees their journalism, public media and media consolidation campaigns including one called â€œSaveTheNewsâ€. Heâ€™s also co-authored a great piece about the assault taking place on local newsrooms across the country titled â€œOutsourcing the News â€“ How covert consolidation is destroying newsrooms and circumventing media ownership rulesâ€.